Below is a listing of courses offered at Princeton related to criminal justice.

Spring 2024

Topics in Domestic Policy: Policing, Militarization, and Policy


This class aims to explore transnational issues in policing. Drawing heavily upon anthropological methods and theory, we aim neither to vindicate nor contest the police's right to use force (whether a particular instance was a violation of law), but instead, to contribute to the understanding of force (its forms, justifications, interpretations). The innovative transnational approach to policing developed during the semester allows for a cross-cultural comparative analysis that explores larger rubrics of policing in a comprehensive social scientific framework.

Instructor: Laurence Ralph

Details: Topics in Domestic Policy

Gangsters and Troublesome Populations

ANT 363 / AAS 369 / URB 363

Since the 1920s, the term "gang" has been used to describe all kinds of collectives, from groups of well-dressed mobsters to petty criminals and juvenile delinquents. In nearly a century of research the only consistency in their characterization is as internal Other from the vantage of the law. This class will investigate how the category of "the gang" serves to provoke imaginaries of racial unrest and discourses of "dangerous," threatening subjects in urban enclaves. More broadly we will examine the methods and means by which liberal democratic governments maintain their sovereign integrity through the containment of threatening populations.

Instructor: Laurence Ralph

Details: Gangsters and Troublesome Populations

Policing, Civil Rights and Social Change

SPI 336

This course covers policing in the United States as it intersects with constitutional rights and racial justice. Topics will include studying the history of police institutions, from slave patrols and night watches to big city police departments; the constitutional framework for policing powers; various theories and tactics of policing, such as broken windows policing; policing practices in the context of schools, drug enforcement and immigration enforcement; and the rise of social movements seeking to change police's role in society, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Instructor: Udi Ofer

Details: Policing, Civil Rights and Social Change

Advanced Seminar in American Studies: Race and the Medicalization of Violence in America

AMS 404 / ANT 414 / AAS 405

This class seeks to critically analyze the intersections of race, violence, and medicine in the United States. Through an interdisciplinary lens, students will examine historical and contemporary case studies to understand how violence has been medicalized, and how race plays a significant role in these processes. Discussions will also encompass slavery, structural violence, police violence, public health approaches to violence, and the role of healthcare professionals in addressing racial disparities in the experience and treatment of violence in African American, Latinx, Asian American and Indigenous contexts.

Instructor: Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús

Details: Advanced Seminar in American Studies

Making an Exoneree

SPI 499

In this intensive seminar, Princeton students have the opportunity to contribute to the exoneration of wrongfully convicted people. A select group of dedicated students will spend the semester as investigators, documentarians, and social justice advocates. The goal is to create a public documentary, website, and social media campaign that makes the case for the innocence of a wrongfully convicted person who is currently languishing in prison and deserves to be free.

Instructor: Maya Dimant

Details: Making an Exoneree

Fall 2024

Policy Advocacy Clinic Seminar

SPI 490

The Policy Advocacy Clinic provides a unique offering for students to learn about and participate in the policymaking process. This one-year, two semester program includes two core components: a fall semester academic seminar where students study the policymaking process and a spring semester field program where students engage in active campaigns to advance public policy. Topics will cover both the academic and practical, ranging from studying public policy theories and structures to developing the skills needed to engage in policy analysis, campaign planning, power-mapping, and the legislative process.

Instructor: Udi Ofer

More information on Policy Advocacy Clinic (2023-24)